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NEW D.C. JUDGE TO HEAR GITMO CASES Guantánamo Bay prisoners challenging their detention in federal court are set to have their cases heard Oct. 6 by a D.C. Circuit panel that includes two of President George W. Bush’s controversial judicial nominees. Judges Janice Rogers Brown and Thomas Griffith — both confirmed to seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in June as part of a compromise to avoid a Senate showdown over the judicial filibuster — were assigned at random to the case. Judge Judith Rogers, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, is the third member of the panel. After last week’s scheduling order, lawyers for the Guantánamo Bay detainees filed a motion to move up the oral arguments to August. Briefing in the cases was completed June 28. If arguments are not heard until October, the detainees’ attorneys fear that the matter will not reach the U.S. Supreme Court — where it is ultimately expected to be decided — until its 2006-2007 term. “I’m not sure why the court put the argument so far down on the road,” says Barbara Olshansky, deputy legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. “We want this case to be heard, and it’s already been way too long.” Olshansky, who coordinates dozens of pro bono lawyers representing detainees, says she is “trying hard to be optimistic” about the two Bush appointees assigned to the case. “So many judges get on the bench, and where they’ve been politically is not necessarily what they do on the bench.” The appeals stem from disparate rulings handed down by Judge Richard Leon and Senior Judge Joyce Hens Green of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Leon, another Bush appointee, dismissed the cases assigned to him, holding that the Guantánamo Bay detainees have no rights under U.S. or international law that can be vindicated in court. Green, a Jimmy Carter appointee, found that the prisoners do have such rights. In June 2004 the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the federal courts have jurisdiction to hear claims brought by detainees at Guantánamo Bay, but it did not indicate how those claims should be resolved. — Vanessa Blum
PAY RAISE Four months ago, associates at Arnold & Porter were complaining that the firm’s limited revenue growth in 2004 meant they went without bonuses. That all changed last Thursday when the firm announced that associates would receive additional pay hikes and bonuses in 2005, according to two associates at the firm. The increases come after the firm saw significant attrition among associates and should improve Arnold & Porter’s position in the employment market. “They’re not doing it out of charity,” says one associate. “They’re doing it because it’s something they need to do to be competitive.” Although first- and second-year associates in the D.C. office won’t see a change in their base salaries, third years will watch their pay jump $5,000 to $145,000. Fourth years will take in $165,000, a $10,000 hike. The next three classes of associates will bring in $20,000 more than in 2004, starting at $185,000 for fifth years. Eighth-year associate pay will rise only $15,000 to $210,000.And ninth-year associates and above will rake in an additional $5,000 beyond that. These increases are coupled with a revamped bonus system. In the past associates have received bonuses during profitable years, but now they will be eligible for hours-based bonuses. At the D.C. office, they’ll take home $15,000 a year if they bill 1,950 hours, double that if they hit 2,200 hours. And those who cross the 2,400-hour mark are in for the jackpot: $32,000 for associates up to the sixth year and $37,500 for seventh years and above. The firm declines comment. — Emma Schwartz
ON TRACK The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law is poised to receive full accreditation from the American Bar Association. The ABA Council on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar has voted for the move. The school now just needs approval from the ABA House of Delegates, which is expected to take up the matter at its annual meeting next month. “It is fully anticipated to zoom through,” said Katherine “Shelley” Broderick, dean of the law school. — Trey Wydysh
JAILING JUDITH Chief Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found his name on front pages and network newscasts last week following his decision to jail New York Times reporter Judith Miller for refusing to disclose an anonymous source to a prosecutor in the Plame investigation. Many lawyers and legal experts say the judge had little choice given the aggressive stance of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Those who’ve practiced before Hogan describe him as low-key, polite, and thoughtful. “He always phrases things in a comfortable fashion even when he thinks you’re totally wrong,” says Paul Wolff, a partner at Williams & Connolly. Some describe Hogan as tough, conservative, and prone to side with prosecutors in grand jury investigations. Opinions diverge on the impact the case will have on the judge’s legacy. “Judge Hogan will not be remembered as the judge who jailed Judy Miller,” says Michael Levy, a white-collar criminal defense partner at D.C.’s McKee Nelson. Others aren’t so sure. “This will be one of the lasting cases for Judge Hogan,” says Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School. “Few cases have this level of significance.” — Jason McLure
SOLICITING OPINIONS Former Solicitor General Theodore Olson’s annual rundown of the Supreme Court’s latest term was laced with its usual sense of humor, which was well received by an audience of local Federalist Society members who crowded into the Mayflower’s Grand Ballroom Friday. Olson had tart words for the generally liberal U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, a favorite target of conservatives, noting that the Supreme Court heard 19 cases from the circuit, and “reversed or vacated 17,” including 11 unanimously. And he lauded Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissenting opinion in Kelo v. New London — in which the Court ruled 5-4 that local governments may force property owners to sell to make way for private economic development if it believes the public will benefit — as “superb, one of the best of the term, if not the best. I commend it to every American.” On the upcoming battle to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor — and perhaps Chief Justice William Rehnquist — he turned sober. “We’re about to enter the most bitter, depressing confirmation season we’ve ever had . . . a prolonged, intrusive, degrading experience,” he noted. “It will not make this country proud.” — T.R. Goldman
STILL STANDING A federal appeals court ruled last week that environmental groups can challenge a decision by a senior Interior Department official that the groups say violated the Clean Air Act. The National Parks Conservation Association and two other groups sued Interior assistant secretary Craig Manson after he green-lighted the construction of a coal-fired power plant near Yellowstone National Park. Manson had earlier recommended against the plant, after concluding that it would cause significant air pollution in protected areas. Montana, which has authority to approve a permit for the plant, has yet to make a decision. Judge A. Raymond Randolph, writing for a three-judge panel that included David Sentelle and Merrick Garland, said the Department of Interior’s decision has strong influence on the state permitting authority, thereby giving the groups standing to sue. “A district court order setting aside Interior’s letter withdrawing its adverse impact determination doubtless would significantly affect these ongoing proceedings,” Randolph wrote. “That is enough to satisfy redressability.” — Lily Henning
CIVIL SUMMIT U.S. and Chinese officials may be spending their days feuding over CNOOC’s recent bid for Unocal. But a coterie of U.S. and Chinese attorneys and business leaders are putting their energy into finding a different sort of way to resolve business disputes in China: mediation. This week, about 200 officials, including members from law firms such as Squire Sanders & Dempsey, Baker & McKenzie, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, will gather in Beijing to receive training in mediation, which many hope will become a more common venue for resolving disputes. Chinese officials, culturally averse to losing face in public, are often reluctant to enter into public court battles, and U.S. companies have expressed frustration that they are sometimes unable to recover arbitration awards, says F. Peter Phillips, senior vice president of the U.S.-based co-sponsor of the conference, the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution. “Everyone recognizes that there is going to be a lot of investment between our two countries,” Phillips says. “We must find a way to do business together — and that includes managing our disputes together.” — Emma Schwartz
BUDDY SYSTEM Greenberg Traurig announced last week that it had entered into an alliance with London-based Olswang, a 300-attorney firm specializing in media, communications, and technology. The alliance, which creates an exclusive relationship between the two firms, is the firm’s third in recent months. (The other two were in Italy and Japan.) Despite Greenberg Traurig’s hiring spree across the United States — including opening new offices in Dallas and Las Vegas — it hasn’t entered into a merger abroad. “The London market is a very challenging market for law firms,” says Richard Rosenbaum, who heads the firm’s international development. But, he says, through an alliance, the firm is able “to fulfill client needs without taking the cultural and financial risk.” — Emma Schwartz

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